How to Dial In Short Pitch Shots

By | on March 25, 2016 | 52 Comments | Array


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Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

52 Responses to “How to Dial In Short Pitch Shots”

  1. Paul, I’ve read innumerable articles on the short wedge shot from 10 to 30 yards and never had it simplified like this. You’ve removed half the thought process by having the same backswing for 3 distances, and merely altering the rotation speed to the ball. I presume one could use a pitching wedge or 9 iron to handle somewhat longer shots if necessary. As a once a week golfer who frequently has to get up and down from 10 to 50 yards to save par, this tip is extremely helpful.

    Thanks, Ron

    • Ron,

      My technique works incredibly well with just a little practice.

      You are presuming wrong. You are pitching with a sand wedge or lob wedge only. You are matching the backswing length and rotational speed of the body for the desired shot. Never abbreviate your swing unless you have to. So you will hit a 9 iron ONLY with a full swing and as far as you hit a full 9 iron. You may have to do a full swing at different rotational speeds with a Pitching Wedge if you do not have a Gap Wedge. If you have Gap you will use that until you get to the distance you hit a full pitching wedge. You do not need or want to abbreviate a Pitching Wedge.

  2. Thanks Paul. This does indeed simplify things and I’ll work on it. One question with respect to the setup at the last position, the one furthest away from the green. There you did not specify that the stance should be open in order to clear the body to the left. Was this on purpose?

    • David,

      You are doing the same set up as the other shots. In the first shot I said you open your stance. The only thing that changed was the rotational speed of my body.

      • Tried it today-it really works! Thank you Paul.

        • One more question though, relating to the carry and roll. In the video you are using the same club and producing three different carry distances. But with the pin staying at the same place, and the landing at the edge of the green, the ration of the roll to the carry is different for the three positions. So how do you get the ball to stop at the pin every time with the same club?

          • May 11, 2013

            Paul Wilson


            Roll will be dependent on how long the grass is that you are in, your contact, ball you are hitting, wind, slope of the green, clean grooves etc. Once you learn the shot then you need the experience to determine the roll.

        • David,

          It sure does. Glad you had success with it.

  3. Paul
    On the short pitch OR regular pitch my misses are the same.Ball contact in the middle of face(lw or sw) BUT face is around 45 deg open so the ball goes way right.What do you think causes this?Turn?Grip(my pressure is light)?I believe i’m taking the club back square.Help.thanks

    • Tim,

      If the face is wide open you are looking to see if you hit a miraculous shot or not. Now you are hinging and turning. You know what to do so you are no longer guessing. If you are not guessing you can keep watching the ball until you’ve hit the ball. This should allow the face to hit the ball squarely. If not loose your wrists by rolling them over for a few swings then focus back on turning your belt buckle to hit the ball. RIGHT = TIGHT. If you are hitting it right your wrists are too tight. So just like your golf swing they need to be loose.

  4. Thanks Paul!

  5. May 10, 2013


    This video sort of opened my eyes not only to pitching the ball but for full shots but with other clubs as well. Its probably not a good idea to watch all your videos in one sitting, then going to the range with a million thoughts. Ive been trying to focus on one thing at a time and perfecting it. After this video, like with the driver, I’m thinking point the butt of the club to the ground (knowing it will go past that point) and then just turning my belt buckle to the target and getting into the finish position. Its working great right now, just wondering if this is an ok thought process or should i focus on more details?

    • Jason,

      Definitely not a good idea to watch too many videos. Take it one step at a time. Focus on one of two things you are having trouble with and master them. The tips aren’t going anywhere so don’t rush through them.

      Yes, you hinge then you turn. This is the correct thought. Keep at it.

  6. A long Time ago ,I bought DAVE PELZ’s book ,where h

    • Raymond,

      My pitching method is amazing! This is not me saying this it is every pro I have shown it to. If you turn your arms off and just turn your body at different speed to hit the shot you are not swinging hard enough to hit it over the green. I not only think of how to make people hit good shots but I want their misses to not get them into trouble as well. Try it … you’ll love it.

      • Avatar photo

        October 22, 2013


        I am in the same quandary as Raymond. I will be trying this method this week and report back on results.

  7. Hi paul, Thank you for this great technique. I was wondering if this technique is good for pitching on a 60yard or should i use an iron with half back swing to reach my goal !

    • August 11, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you liked it.

      This is good for any short distances it all depends how far you hit the iron you are pitching with.

      To pitch from this distance you can use a SW or LW. If you are using a lob wedge you will probably be doing a full swing. SW would be the medium backswing length pointing the butt of the club at the ground at 3/4 back. Then you just dial in the rotational speed of your body to hit the shot.

      Here is more on the technique:

      How to Pitch:

  8. August 14, 2013


    I really like your videotips. But why is it that some of them are downloadable an some are not. It would be easier to watch them later with e.g. VLC Mediaplayer without having to logging in to the web site.

    • August 14, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you like the tips. Thank you for your feedback.

      I don’t want everyone downloading my tips. Then I am not in control of my content which is my life’s work. Plus, a lot of people would join, download all of my tips then ask for a refund. Not fair to me or anyone else. So, for now you have to watch the tips on the site.

  9. July 1, 2014


    Hi Paul,
    How do I coordinate the one-piece takeaway and the hinging of the wrists during the short pitch shots?

    • Eriab,

      I don’t want you thinking one-piece takeaway on pitch shots. You should be thinking HINGE/TURN for pitching. I need you to set the backswing manually when pitching.

      These are more delicate shots so although you are hinging early you can do so without locking up your arms.


      How to Pitch:

  10. November 20, 2014


    Are the different yardages to the pin or where u are trying to land the ball?
    Enjoy all your stuff, really transformed my game!

    • November 20, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you like the tips and glad you are doing well. I appreciate the feedback.

      The yardage is to the landing point. I actually go up to the pin. Find a point a few yards short of the pin then start pacing back to my ball. Once I know the yardage I apply the swing and rotational speed that corresponds.

  11. December 18, 2014


    I have your Short Game Series DVD and I really like it. The pitching practice even helps with my long game.

    When I use your method I find I usually get about 10 yds of roll out no matter the distance I start from. Because of this I try to land the ball 10 yds short of the hole.

    My question is, when you say 10 yds, 20 yds, etc. do you mean air distance of 10 yds, 20 yds, etc. I can’t find the answer to this question in your DVD or tips.

    • December 18, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Your pitch shots should fly in 10 yard increments. Many factors would determine the amount of roll, contact, ball, greens, wind, slope of green, angle of attack, launch angle etc. etc. So allowing for 10 yards roll is fine. Less if factors would take yardage off.

      So go up to the hole. Measure 10 yards from the pin. Then pace back from that point to your ball.

  12. I”m a senior leftie and find these shots frustrating. Often I either leave them short or frequently pull them quite far right (left hander) of the target.

    I’m sure these pitching tips will sort me out but any thoughts on pulling such a short shot.

    • David,

      You are pulling the club down so your shots are pulling. When you use your arms your whole upper body will lean right (for a lefty). Lean right and you will hit it right. I am hitting the actual pitch shot with my hips. I hinge the club to the right backswing length then I turn to hit the shot. In doing so my upper body angles back thus allowing the club swing swing out at the ball.


      How to Pitch:

      This will help too:

      Body Tilt – Left Right:

      Just be careful. If you stay back and hit it flat footed with all the weight on your back foot you will hit it fat.


      Stop Fat Shots When Working On Moving Your Head:

  13. Hi Paul,
    When do we use the pitching wedge or the low irons, 7, 8, & 9? i remember seeing you advocating ratios of flight and roll. Maybe it is my misunderstanding. Is the difference chipping and pitching? i get confused with these two terms. They probably have different techniques too?

  14. March 25, 2016


    Hi Paul,
    Sometimes with these short distance pitch shots (less than 60 yards) and with a very tight/hard fairway I can flub this pitch shot. Is it a matter of tightening up my arms that causes me to hit before the ball or skull it?


    • March 27, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      Flubbing pitches is you hitting with your arms. When you do they outpace your body so you are trapped on your back foot at impact. All you have to do it make sure you hinge in the backswing. Once hinged, you turn your belt buckle to hit the shot. If your belt buckle turns first before the arms come down you will never hit it fat.

      You can also learn this shot:

      Shot: How To Hit From Hard Pan:

  15. Fantastic lesson ,Paul :very very useful to dial in properly your short pitch shots .
    It takes quite some training sessions to be accurate though in order to get the feel!
    When you manage to be within holing distance from the pin ,your scores drop dramatically .
    Apart from the other method (DAVE PELZ ) I mentioned a long time ago ,there’s also the PAUL AZINGER way of doing it .PAUL AZINGER played many years ago ,but he was a pretty accurate Pro with his short game :PAUL AZINGER would rotate his upper body more or less to dial in the distance .I tend to change the club I use to acheive distance control :52°,56°,60°wedges ,but your excellent method is more “universal”as you don’t have to change clubs .

    • March 27, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      Glad you like it. Every pro I have every shown it to loves it. Although these other methods may work I want it as simple as possible so the person doesn’t have to work on it that much.

  16. March 28, 2016


    Thanks Paul. So it looks like you giving me another option of using the chipping technique from a hard fairway. I will definitely consider that as a safer alternative when faced with that situation. Do you also teach a “bump and run” shot with say an 8-iron in this situation. Where you swing the club halfway back to halfway thru…..?


  17. March 28, 2016



    Is there a standsrd ‘roll amount’ with this technique similar to chipping? I am trying to get mental picture on when to use this pitch vs lobbing it. Just want your take on that. Thanks.


    • March 28, 2016

      Paul Wilson


      Not really. This would be due to many factors.

      Ball you are using
      Contact you make
      Club you hit
      Grass between face and grooves
      Clubhead speed
      etc. etc.

      Short pitching like I showed would probably roll at least 10 yards from the fairway more out of the rough. So you have to take this into consideration when deciding on whether or not to hit this shot.

      I usually give myself approx. 5 yards on flop shots.

  18. March 28, 2016


    Hi Paul,
    I just came back from an hour of practice around two different greens and lies. It is great but I need practice. My errors where usually in the rough. It the ball is down in heavy grass, I sometimes hit it fat turning my club over and came up short, not getting on the green, Othertimes I quit turning my hips through when the clubhead entered the grass resistance and the ball shot off to the right and short. I also found if I stand too close to the ball I could shank them. Overall it’s a great technique and I should have it down better when I get to your class this Thursday.

  19. March 29, 2016


    Hi Paul,

    Sometimes these shots go out to the right for me, ball is flyging 30-45 degrees right. What am I doing wrong when this jappene ?

  20. March 29, 2016


    It should be ‘this happens’ , sorry

  21. April 24, 2017


    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the pitching lesson and the site overall. I’m not sure you explained why you choke up on these shots. Can you clarify? If you choked up more or less would that not give you more distances at the same speeds?



    • Avatar photo

      April 24, 2017

      Paul Wilson


      You are choking up to take some of the speed out of the shot plus the you need the indicator of the butt of the club so you can point it at the right spot. Gripping down allows you to do that.

      So short shots – shorter club so it doesn’t swing too fast. Longer shots grip at the end to get more power.

  22. April 9, 2018


    You refer to wrist hinge, is hinging the wrist and wrist cock the same? I watch some other instructors who describe wrist hinge as cupping the right wrist. Assuming the fingers are closed to form a fist with the thumb pointed up, then moving the wrist to point your thumb towards you is a wrist cock. In the short pitch demo,I can’t tell if you are hinging or cocking your wrist. Can you explain?

  23. August 30, 2018


    Why can you get by with only 2 swing speeds with a lobe wedge. What would be the distances and why would a mid speed swing not add a third distance.

    • Avatar photo

      August 30, 2018

      Paul Wilson


      Because you are only hitting it 60 yards. A sand wedge you should be (I am hitting it 90 yards) which is divisible by 3. 3 x 3 + 9. So here are the shot with the different clubs:


      Slow/Fast – Short backswing – 10 and 20
      Slow/Fast – Med backswing – 30 and 40
      Slow/Fast – Full backswing – 50 and 60


      Slow/Med/Fast – Short backswing – 10, 20 and 30
      Slow/Med/Fast – Med backswing – 40, 50 and 60
      Slow/Med/Fast – Full backswing – 70, 80 and 90

      See it now? If you had 3 speed with a lob wedge it wouldn’t work and is totally unnecessary.

  24. January 5, 2021


    Can I assume that shots shorter than 10 yards would be in the realm of a chip?

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